It’s one of my strongest beliefs that being customer-centric is the key to market success and growth. And the best way to drive growth through customer relationships is to build an organization that is truly customer-driven.
It’s something that takes continuous focus and commitment — and leadership from the top! It’s amazing how quickly organizations can turn inward and focus on their internal challenges rather than the customer.
Find ways to share examples of your customer-centric business in action. Make someone who goes above and beyond for a customer into a team hero. Send a company email, shout out in the office, go shake someone’s hand and compliment him when everyone is around to overhear. It doesn’t need to be formal — or subtle. But it does need to come from the leader of the organization. You need to model the behavior you want relentlessly. The whole team will watch you for clues on how to talk about and treat customers.
You cannot create a customer-centric company without people who actually care about customers. Hiring right is probably the single most important thing you do. If you have a customer centric company, you need to hire on customer centric values, you need to be willing to fire on customer centric values, and you have to promote and compensate on those values as well.
The focus on customer success has another, more subtle, benefit. It makes your employees feel good about the company and their work. It focuses them on the customer value you deliver, not just on making more money for the company. I am sure most of you have heard about how more than other groups, Gen Y employees want to know the work they are doing matters. Well, your customers can help them understand their impact!
Building a customer-centric company is not hard, nor is it expensive. It takes commitment and focus — relentless focus.
If you can build an organization that always does the right thing for your customers, your customers will do the right thing for you: They will remain loyal. They will tell their friends about you. They will be passionate advocates for your business and defenders of your brand. They will help you reach audiences you could never reach on your own by talking about you where they engage with friends, family, and colleagues (in person, on social media sites, etc.).
These unbiased reviews will encourage others to patronize your business, giving you a chance to wow new customers and turn them into advocates. It’s an endless loop that will return dividends for a long time to come.